Many cities around the globe are already feeling the effects of global warming. But a warning to U.S. President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and all the other thousands of delegates, plutocrats and activists who are about to swamp Scotland’s largest city next week for COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference: Glasgow in November is not one of them.

As Billy Connolly, the city’s favourite son, once put it, there are only two seasons here: winter and June. It is somehow entirely in keeping with Boris Johnson’s style of government that he is preparing to focus world attention on our overheating planet in Britain’s chilliest nation.

A customary force 8 gale is currently blowing down the Clyde at the Scottish Event Campus, which is where the massive COP shindig will be held. A single worker hangs from a rope attached to the Finnieston crane. He is grappling with a huge UN banner which, like a broken mainsail is flapping in all directions.

The place is deserted. But it will all feel very different by Sunday. After a year and half in which Glaswegians have been trapped inside, the city is now coming to terms with the reality that the rest of the world is about stepping through the front door.

With up to 30,000 delegates, 10,000 police and as many as 200,000 protesters, COP26 — the letters stand for ‘Conference of the Parties’ — is to be held in a vast tented village, kept apart from the grubby masses by a ring of security steel. It’s Davos On the Clyde. Glasgow loves a good party, but are we ready for it?

Activists in Glasgow symbolically set George Square "on fire" with an art installation of faux flames, smoke, and banners, showcasing the climate emergency

Glasgow activists set George Square “on Fire” with an art installation that featured fake flames, smoke and banners. This was to highlight the climate emergency.

Govan Road, Sir Alex Ferguson’s childhood home, is just a mile away from the COP HQ. Council workers are busy removing rubbish from a small area of grass amid a public backlash over the poor state of the city. ‘I don’t know why we have to wait for someone special to turn up to get it sorted,’ mutters a litter-picker.

Outside the nearby Jobcentre, locals have mixed feelings about the event: a sense of civic pride in Glasgow’s sudden elevation in status and a Clyde-built scepticism about the exact point of it all.

‘I hope something comes of it, but I can’t help thinking they’d be better off giving the money to parts of the city like this,’ says unemployed Frankie McDermott.

Bob McBride, who is also unemployed, said that no one knows what the event is. ‘But I bet they don’t have to use vaccine passports when they arrive,’ he grumbles.

A feisty pensioner who refuses to be named has a warning for any climate activists: ‘I don’t know how things are done in London, but if they try to block the roads here, they’re going to get a Glasgow kiss,’ she says, smiling menacingly through her dentures. (Note to XR and Insulate Britain campaigners unfamiliar with the local patter: that’s Glaswegian for a head-butt.)

Or, we might just set the rats free. For the talk on the Glasgow omnibus these past few weeks has not been about whether President Xi of China will take part in negotiations, or whether the $100 billion target to support developing nations will be met, but about whether somebody from the b****y council could deal with our escalating rodent problem.

My house is located about a mile from COP site. It has been overrun with rats lately. After a summer of gorging on the overflowing bins in our back lane, rats the size of four Big Macs began invading our basement and, at one stage, reached my daughter’s bedroom.

The city is suffering from a wide infestation of rats as it prepares to welcome world leaders to COP26

As the city prepares to host world leaders at COP26, it is infested with rats.

We are not unusual either: the plague was so widespread that the GMB union set up a hotline for rats. The public’s anger was only heightened by the nothing-to-see-here attitude of our city leaders. On Tuesday, SNP council leader Susan Aitken bizarrely blamed Margaret Thatcher for the problem, sniffed blithely that ‘all cities have rats’ anyway and declared that Edinburgh was even worse.

Rats and Scot Nats — we’ve had our fill of them up here.

The rodents are now in retreat, thankfully. Glaswegians have a greater concern that the city may look a little under-dressed as they open their doors to the world.

The problem of litter on the streets has been a problem for months. This is why the Govan council decided to do a last-minute clean-up this week. But the council didn’t help matters when it unveiled ‘Bonnie the Seal’ as the official COP26 mascot; a lifesize puppet which not only looks uncannily like (you guessed it) a huge rat, but is a recycled cast-off from the last big event the city held, the multi-sport European Championships in 2018.

This is only half of it. However, there is still opportunity. The economic benefit to Glasgow from the event may end up being as much as £100 million. Many residents want a slice of the multi-million-pound cake.

This is a city that has never had a problem with its socialist self-image and looking for quick buck. There are stories of exorbitant fees charged by amateur landlords to rent out their homes to delegate looking for a place.

The city's rubbish issue is likely to get worse as a strike for refuse workers looms ahead of the highly-anticipated climate summit

As the highly-anticipated climate summit approaches, the city’s rubbish problem is likely to worsen. A strike by refuse workers is on the horizon.

American climate activist Tan Copsey was informed by his Airbnb host in the West End of the city that, because prices in the area had risen by 400 per cent, his rental would be increased by £1,500. ‘I had already paid. We had an agreement,’ Mr Copsey noted — and promptly told his greedy host where to go.

A gym near the SEC site has been leased out for a reputed £500,000. Locals are able to keep the wolf away from their doors by consuming organic white wine and thousands upon thousands of cruelty-free canapes.

So will the hosts — the British Government — recoup a political dividend from this? Will Glasgow, the UK’s 2014 referendum winner, be able to see the benefits of the Union? The verdict is out.

Boris Johnson declared two-years ago that COP26 would serve as a battering-ram to Unionism. ‘I don’t mind seeing a Saltire or two but I want to see the Union flag and I don’t want to see Nicola Sturgeon anywhere near it,’ he told cheering Tory activists.

Funnily enough, in Scotland, this didn’t go down well. Mr Johnson has now seen sense — he and Ms Sturgeon will co-host a reception of world leaders here next week, and the Union flag and Saltire will fly side by side.

For her part, Ms Sturgeon appears determined to flog the event for all it’s worth to burnish her international credentials and the case for independence (in that order). The Government’s best hope is that there is no significant harm to the Union.

We are all keen to preserve the Union and we need to pray that Mr Johnson does not offend Scotland by wearing a Kilt or joke about what Scotsmen wear under it.

Boris Johnson is hoping that the delayed climate conference in Glasgow can be used to help strengthen Scotland's ties with the UK

Boris Johnson hopes that the delayed climate conference in Glasgow will be used to strengthen Scotland’s ties to the UK

Not only can we save the Union, but how about saving the planet as well?

Expectations for a breakthrough deal similar to the 2015 Paris summit are low, as neither President Xi nor Putin have indicated any interest in coming. There is always the danger that at COP, any benefit of coming together might be overshadowed by the hypocrisy surrounding the whole carbon-spewing enterprise.

The first case study is the fleet electric Jaguars that will be used for VIP transport from their hotels. Due to a shortage of power points, diesel generators were needed to charge them.

Alok Sharma (COP president and Conservative MP) has continued to dial the phones in the hope of reaching a good deal.

Whether or not he is successful, it seems unlikely that his efforts will satisfy the thousands of protesters who are preparing to head here — including everyone from genuine climate activists and NGOs to Scottish independence supporters and Black Lives Matter campaigners.

Unfortunately, the Queen is not coming, but Greta Thunberg is, the princess of climate change. This week she said: ‘We invite everyone, especially the workers striking in Glasgow, to join us.’

The climate summit comes at a time where Cumbria is suffering from life-threatening floods

The climate summit takes place at a moment when Cumbria faces life-threatening flooding

The potential for huge numbers could be significant. Glasgow’s burgeoning business district, only a Molotov cocktail’s throw away from the COP site, is bracing itself for action. Others predict that the next Covid variant could be made here.

One feels it will require American muscle to push matters along — so all eyes will be on President Biden (who is opting to stay in Edinburgh). According to White House briefings, he is delivering on his promise to cut U.S. emissions by half by 2030.

One green activist friend of mine points out that if this event was going on, then why are we at conference number 26? Shouldn’t all this have been sorted out at COP1?

Glaswegians will, despite all their scepticisms, hope it works. In Govan, passer-by Anne Beamish remarks: ‘We can put up with a bit of disruption if it means the weans [young] have a future.’

Despite everything, even the rats, it would be worth it.